Once upon a time I began telling stories, and in doing so, I began building whole worlds that I populated with characters, beings and sights and sounds both familiar and fantastic. I wrote stories that I would read out loud for a small audience in the school yard, and the reactions, responses and suggestions of the other kids changed the stories.
In the 4th grade I thought I had the next great science fiction novel ready, but a publisher assured me politely that even though the script was an impressive undertaking at my age, it was not ready for publication. By a long shot. However, I picked up my typewriter and continued painting stories with words and emotions – and with pencils and ink, by the way.
Sometime in my teens I was awarded for a short story I submitted to a competition for young writers. This recognition surely played a part in the career path that lay before me as a creative professional, working in multimedia, communication, design, concept development and creative direction since the mid-1990s.
At heart of what I do there has always been the drive to create, engage and entertain. Now that I am bringing a design approach to creating stories for experiences, digital media, non-linear and modular narratives, I get this sense of coming full circle.
Once again, I am presenting the audience with stories that they can influence themselves, be it storylines for themed entertainment or games, or core and origin stories that makes for a great foundation for others to get inspired or build their amazing work on. The paintings of words, emotions, thrills and insights are made for them, the audience, to experience and to make their own.
Especially in the later years, I have presented my design approach to storytelling to other storytellers, both aspiring and established, at courses for creative professionals and students alike. At these courses I teach how stories can be told with spaces, or without words and that interaction design and cinematic disciplines can be applied beyond the screen.
A new dimension of narratives and story-driven experiences is appearing, and along with it, a new generation of storytellers. We all stand on the shoulders of giants, but look what magical things can happen when we decide to take a leap to even higher ground.
Even with tens of thousands of years in the making, the story of stories have just begun … and I will do my best to help that evolutionary tale move forward.